When you assume your husband can help you sew DIY Christmas bows.
take the full holiday house tour here!
My original idea for how to make this bow was a simple piece of red ribbon… Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Ribbon– a product that you can buy at the store that you do not need to craft in your workshop of craftiness?
But since I’m me, I decided to make my own! So I could give the bow contrasting red stripes! Fun! Like a Christmas tuxedo! It’s harder this way!
If something will take me 57 times longer, but be 1% nicer, I am all for it.
Besides, why do something quickly that you can actually finish– if you have the option of getting involved in a project that will spiral out of control?
On top of my self-assigned task of winning Christmas, I was scheduled to have surgery… Nothing serious, but definitely inconvenient and I wanted to get this stuff done beforehand because I was not sure how much I would be able to use my arm.
So I casually mentioned to my mother that I was planning a few simple Christmas decorating projects… With total awareness that she would come over and help me keep my brain inside my head rather than exploding out all over the place.
Paul said he would help too, which surprised me in the best possible way… until later, when that surprise turned out to be warranted for different reasons.
I used duckcloth for the bows— it’s the same material I used for the pillow covers. It’s not exactly a fabric you think of for festive home decor, but I wanted the bows to feel comfortable and homey and not fussy.
And then, because I lied about not wanting it to be fussy, I used red satin for the trim.
The sashes I made are 4 yards long. (No, that is not a typo) and 6.5 inches wide. However, I only bought one yard of red satin. My (fatally flawed) plan was to cut three-inch-wide strips and sew them end-to-end until they were 4 yards long.
If you’re wondering why I did not just use red ribbon, that is an excellent question.
At the time, I thought the answer was because I found the perfect-color red fabric… But now, I can say for sure that the answer is because I am an idiot.
As I planned the Christmas assembly line, I assigned Paul the task of cutting the strips of red fabric. I figured he would be excellent at this because he is so precise. But I was wrong.
I was BEYOND wrong.
It turns out that Paul cuts fabric like a meth-addled chimpanzee: not straight.
I haven’ t had enough time to process this yet, so I cannot even take a stab at explaining it… If I didn’t know better, I might think he was not invested in the end product.
I’m sure you’ll think that I hacked at the fabric extra, to emphasize Paul’s “work,” but no. These are totally untouched. Exactly the way they were delivered to me.
When I said – Gaaahrrrgghh!
Paul said, with no remorse at all – well, it was my first time doing this.
Then he went and started making a snack.
Let me tell you, this is an excellent strategic move because it leaves the wronged-party with zero options. They cannot screech at you – what are you doing? are you making a snack? now is not the time for snacks!
What kind of crazy person would object to you eating when you are hungry?
Furthermore, I had to experience my outrage alone, because I have never once gotten my mother to see any flaw in Paul… in fact, I am pretty sure that he could light me on fire and then dance around fanning the flames and singing, and she would think he was trying to keep me warm.
So I had to wait to have my fabric-rage vindicated in print… I gritted my teeth and said – you will read about this on the blog. I am going to tell them everything.
Paul said – good. Be sure you lead with the part about 4 yards of fabric.
I said – guess what? They already know. And they think it’s fine.
At this point, faced with a pile of chewed-looking, unusable scrap, and the bafflement of how my husband could slaughter an entire yard of fabric without once stopping to think – this does not look like what Victoria is expecting.
The obvious choice was walking away.
But since my mom was there, instead of setting fire to this plague of Christmas decorating that I had brought upon myself, we went to get more fabric. To do it again.
It’s a Barnes specialty: perfect solutions, requiring only the small compromise of giving up your will to live.
When we got to the fabric store, they only had half a yard– rather than the full yard I needed. And I am not sure if it will surprise you that I did not like any of the other red fabric that they had.
I was standing numbly at the cutting counter, wondering why all the reds were so hideous, but also why I am so derailed and paralyzed by three degrees of too-much-orange-not-enough-blue. When my mother said – you know, we could sew together two of Paul’s unusable strips to make one usable strip… then the half-yard will be enough to do the other bow.
If this sounds sensible, allow me to translate: each sash for each bow is 4 yards long. If you need a piece of trim on either side, that is 8 yards of trim, per sash. If you have to sew two pieces of hacked-up trim together to form one useable piece, that is what? 16 yards of fabric. Which means sewing together 48 feet of fabric. For just one bow.
Writing this out makes me love my mom so much. But also – what is wrong with her?
When we got home with our new, half-yard of fabric, and our mutual agreement to continue steering directly into the iceberg, Paul said – did you get what you needed?
As though my mother and I simply enjoy touring local fabric stores, and this entire debacle had nothing to do with him.
Plus, since he had so convincingly persuaded me that he was incapable of assisting in the bow-making assembly-line, his services were no longer required and he was permitted to go and do something not-miserable.
But he didn’t.
Instead, he stood in the doorway and performed a stand-up routine about Christmas in North Korea. He started saluting me and calling me Supreme Leader and saying things like – who knew Kim Jong-il was so into Christmas decorating?
He also noted that I had given my mother the significantly-crummier-task of sewing together his meth-chimpanzee strips and had taken for myself, the new and unmolested fabric.
So he made my mom a badge to identify her as “The People’s Worker.”
Then he said – where is Elvis? I need to identify her as “The People’s Cat”
In case you think I’m kidding:
take the full holiday house tour!
index of all holiday posts.
how to make a perfect holiday bow
PS! I’m reading and LOVING A Little Love Story: A Novel… I randomly checked it out of the library, and it’s GOOD!
December 18, 2013 @ 11:52 am
This might be my favorite post. Ever. Of all posts in the world. And also, I love Paul. And The People’s Cat.
December 18, 2013 @ 11:54 am
You are insanely hilarious and make me feel 100 times better about all my Christmas decorating neuroses. I made my husband stab 200 Shish kabob skewers into a Styrofoam ball because he bought a 9′ tree that dwarfed our previous tree topper in a way that was unacceptable. Now that it’s spray painted gold and looking all sputnik-y he’s very pleased with it but I’m sure he’d have been delighted to stage a mutiny a la Paul.
Merry Christmas; please keep these brilliant posts coming and let us know when you write a book!
December 18, 2013 @ 12:07 pm
You. Kill. Me.
I’m wheezing & looking for my inhaler from laughing so hard.
Merry Christmas. Hope you get to relax & enjoy your hard work while recovering. Knowing you – you will come up with even more small “projects” 🙂
December 18, 2013 @ 12:10 pm
Great idea and looks “purrfect — especially Elvis!
December 18, 2013 @ 12:11 pm
Your home is simply divine!
December 18, 2013 @ 12:11 pm
You go girl! I am living vicariously thru you as I’m in a much simpler season and can truly laugh and shake my head in wonder and amazement, with a big fat grin on my face!! I’m wondering what January and February will bring…..
December 18, 2013 @ 12:51 pm
Holy moses. I laughed good and hard at this post. Mostly at Paul’s decorating your mom and the cat, but seriously- were we separated at birth? Because your path and my path to making simple things complicated is IDENTICAL.
December 18, 2013 @ 12:52 pm
You had me at the self edit. My posts are sloppy and confusing, but whatever… they are JUST LIKE ME!
Then, when you wrote about Paul setting you on fire and your mother thinking it was so adorable of him I knew you were stealing from my life to write your blog. So uncool, VEB, so uncool of you.
Paul and Mom, meet Luis and Mom. The four of you are interchangeable. My mom calls Luis her “Golden Boy” and he know calls her his “Golden Girl” which I find hilarious because I was raised in the United States and he wasn’t. (He hadn’t seen Golden Girls when this amazing nickname came about, but since has)
I would have also given my mother the scraps butchered by her amazingly perfect son-in-law and taken the new fabric for myself. Hey! This is what moms are for, Paul/Luis!
We are living undoubtedly parallel lives except my house looks like crap right now. Nobody has helped me decorate. My mother has even failed to reshape the swags over my front door and windows after I have twice mentioned they need reshaped. She instead, both times, insisted they need something sparkly. Maybe I need to invite her over to add sparkly things to them and trick her into reshaping them while adding the sparkly things for me?
P.S. What’s the plan for Haven this year? Do you still want to share a room and promise not to shuffle-walk?
December 18, 2013 @ 1:06 pm
Okay girls, in self defense, I believe I speak for both of us (Tammi and Victoria’s mom) when I say you are indeed very special ladies in your own right and you are both married to Golden Boys! That does not, however, translate to “Perfect”. We do know they are not “Perfect” but they certainly are great men. As for the need for sparkle and shaping, I will be there as soon as this last little quilt is finished and sparkle and shape until you are begging me to go home! Be careful what you ask for.
December 18, 2013 @ 1:11 pm
Pack your duds, mom. I’ll change the sheets in the guest room. Bring all your best ideas and any sparkly stuff you think I need.
December 18, 2013 @ 12:55 pm
What a great start to my afternoon…..a great laugh and great fun. Just think! You won’t even like those bows by next year! More crafting experiences on the way!
December 18, 2013 @ 12:58 pm
I was rolling right along with you. I really was. Enjoyed it too. I laughed when you laughed, cried when you cried. My ire was to the point of boiling when I read of the Great Sandwich Caper!
Then it happened.
Kin Jong- il is dead. You didn’t know, I’m sure. I am so sorry for your loss.
Please don’t be too sad, though. His son, Kim Jong-un, is so much like him that his own people don’t even realize he is a different despot! Neither will your husband! Carry on!
December 18, 2013 @ 1:04 pm
Looks like you need to invest in a rotary cutter and cutting mat and never let your husband near it. Free advise from someone who has made her own mistakes. The cat could of done a better job but maybe that was the plan all along.
Garden, Home and Party
December 18, 2013 @ 1:54 pm
Not only are the pillows my favorite new idea I’ve seen in blog land, you make it sound like so much fun I’m tempted to try them for next year, with my sewing skills (not) if I start on them now I should be finished by December 1, 2014.
P.S. Random question, what is the square hole in the wall that is framed out so attractively but appears to have no purpose in the image where you are standing but we can’t see your face, next to a heater vent?
December 18, 2013 @ 2:33 pm
“help me keep my brain inside my head rather than exploding out all over the place.”
Do you have ADHD? LOL. And how come we don’t get to see your Mom’s face in the pic? Tell her not to be so camera shy! Oh, love the decorating you have done and I think you already “won” Christmas. Who were you competing with?
December 18, 2013 @ 2:34 pm
I officially declare you the winner of Christmas, based on the experiences described in this blog post. If you don’t have the Christmas spirit (“this #*^%!! bow is going to look the way I want it or Christmas had just better not come this year”), then I don’t know who does.
Also, highly approve of TED talk hatred. Though I’m sure I would like YOURS.
December 18, 2013 @ 2:57 pm
I would not advise getting your husband a rotary cutter and mat…the horror of what he could do with it! I do hope that someday you will write a book…you already have a following here! Love what you did with the pillows…good luck with your surgery.
December 18, 2013 @ 2:59 pm
Some of your best work. I’ve been a bit down and this was exactly what I needed! Thank you!
December 18, 2013 @ 3:56 pm
I love the look!! You are truly amazing but what really amazes me is that I understood what you said. Do you think I have a warped mind?? No I don’t mean you have a warped mind but your narrative made sense. I love you!!
December 18, 2013 @ 4:19 pm
I am speechless. Given you know my love of crafting and ribbons. I am utterly speechless. I am going to hire you to make my order now seeing as the probability of me dragging out my sewing machine since the original post I wrote on it, is not going to happen at all.
December 18, 2013 @ 4:19 pm
Your pillows look fabulous, totally worth all the effort, tears, trips to fabric store, etc. Please don’t be depressed when I tell you the helper/husband thing doesn’t get better the longer you’re married. After 30 years of marriage I should know better. But no, I keep right on letting sweet, uncrafty husband help me AND being shocked when things don’t turn out quite right.
December 18, 2013 @ 4:25 pm
Laughing spit-take over Paul… how long has he been married to you now???